Romney vs. Kerry on START

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., rebutted an op-ed in which former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney calls on the Obama administration to "Stop START," the nuclear treaty with Russia that the Senate has yet to ratify. The dueling op-eds, one of which includes a personal attack by Kerry, appeared in Friday's Boston Globe and on the Globe's website.

Romney compares the administration's push to pass START with the rush to pass last February's $787 billion economic stimulus package and March's health care bill. He writes of the president, "Fall for his rush once, shame on him; twice, shame on Congress; a third time, shame all around."

In a bullet-point list, Romney suggests START limits America's options for missile defense, exacerbates Russia's nuclear missile advantage over the United States and provides "gaping loopholes that Russia could use to escape nuclear weapon limits entirely."

Kerry's rebuttal focuses on why the Senate must ratify START quickly because "every day without a treaty is another day that we don't know what is going on with Russia's nuclear arsenal and another day on which the rest of the world questions whether the United States is still capable of leading the way toward a safer world by ratifying this modest and appropriate treaty."

The Senate Foreign Relations chair then counters each of Romney's reasons not to ratify START, with his own list of reasons the measure should be passed. "First, unequivocally: Nothing in this treaty restrains the United States from pursuing a robust missile defense strategy to protect our country and our allies," he writes. Kerry then goes on to answer Romney's other START criticisms.

Finally, Kerry relates START to Romney's presidential aspirations. "This is a moment for adult leadership and bipartisan statesmanship," Kerry writes. "I'd hope that Mr. Romney would acknowledge that anyone who aspires to the most powerful office in the world should aspire to nothing less than that.